Nuclear Energy Lab Report

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The purpose of this lab is to determine the sustainability of the two major resources-coal and nuclear-for the production of electricity. The laboratory compares coal, which is the more traditional energy producing resource, to nuclear, which is considered the more modern energy resource. The laboratory demonstrates the amount of material needed, the wastes produced and potential effects from a catastrophe.
According to the United States Department of Energy (2013), coal is the most plentiful fuel in the fossil family and it has the longest and, perhaps, the most varied history and has been in use for heating since the cave. Coal has been used by Native Americans for heating and cooking, however, the burning of coal to
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As of January 1, 2015, the Demonstrated Reserve Base (DRB) was estimated to contain 478 billion short tons of available coal in the United States, which should last another 250 years (U.S. Energy Information Administration-Independent Statistics and Analysis, 2015). However, coal burning has a negative impact on the environment and is considered a major contributor to the destruction of the ozone. On the other hand, nuclear energy is a relatively new source of energy production. Nuclear energy is similar to coal in the way it produces energy. Water is heated and the steam produced drives turbines that produce electricity. Nuclear plants depend on the heat that occurs during nuclear fission, when one atom splits into two and releases energy (How Nuclear Power Works, 2016). Uranium, which undergoes natural fission, is the primary source for nuclear energy. The environmental effects of nuclear power is minimal in comparison to the burning of coal, however, the byproduct of nuclear energy is extremely toxic. Nevertheless, the amount of energy produce from nuclear energy produces nearly a million …show more content…
Research has shown that the burning of fossil fuels produce an extreme amount of carbon dioxide, which is a primary contributor to air pollution and ozone depletion. Additionally, the burning of coal is an inefficient method for producing energy. The data also shows a fraction of uranium is needed to generate nuclear energy and the waste manufactured is also minute when compared to coal. Based on the data provided, coal manufactured nearly 2600 times more waste than a nuclear based power plant. All in all, nuclear energy is more sustainable than coal and the results based on these figures confirms my hypothesis. Ultimately, nuclear energy is economically practical and poses less impact on the environment and public

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